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Hoarding essential products during the COVID-19 pandemic

Abderrahman Hassi (Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Ifrane, Morocco)
Giovanna Storti (Employment and Social Development Canada, Gatineau, Canada)

Publication date: 14 September 2022

Issue publication date: 21 November 2022


Research methodology

This case was created based on secondary sources available in the public domain (i.e. news articles). This case has been taught in an undergraduate course of principles of management under the chapter on ethics.

Case overview/synopsis

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, people panicked and rushed to purchase essential products such as hand sanitizers, antibacterial soaps, disinfectant wipes and face masks. The images of a panicked public inspired the brothers Matt and Noah Colvin who amassed and hoarded stockpiles of these essential products to make immense profit. They claimed that their trade approach was legitimate. Yet by an ironic twist of fate, their unorthodox acts were revealed in the media and consequences came in threes: the public vilified the hoarders, the online marketplaces kicked them out and the authorities opened an investigation about alleged price-gouging practices.

Complexity academic level

This case study may be used in classroom discussions on the concepts of hoarding and price gouging in the following academic programs: bachelor’s in business administration, master of science in business administration and MBA programs. This case study may be used in the following academic courses: ethics in business, responsible management, fundamental of management and organizational behavior.



Disclaimer. This case is intended to be used as the basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. The case was compiled from published sources.


Hassi, A. and Storti, G. (2022), "Hoarding essential products during the COVID-19 pandemic", , Vol. 18 No. 6, pp. 874-883.



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